Guest blogger Melodie Isgro tells how to introduce organized group games at preschool recess

Yesterday, I shared the story of creating a parent volunteer program for introducing organized group games at my daughter’s preschool recess. The Games at Recess – Parents (GARP) program has been highly successful and Playworks asked me to share how we did it. Here are the six steps I took:

  1. Get school support. Approach the school administration/whoever is in charge of the playground about your idea. It’s best share the added benefits such a program can bring –not as a problem to be solved. Ask if parents need a background check or other security measures to be out on the playground with the kids.
  2. Pick appropriate games to lead and play. Peruse the Playworks games or other game lists available that seem appropriate for the preschool level. Two things to remember when creating a games list: 1) simpler is better and 2) non-competitive games are most appropriate for preschool age kids.
  3. Gather supplies needed to play the games you have selected. Most can be found at garage sales or thrift stores for cheap. Store equipment in a large plastic bin with a laminated copy of your games list.
  4. Develop a format for running games. For example:
    • Arrive 10 minutes early to hang up a sign alerting the kids we are playing and set up the games.
    • At recess, use using a special noise maker to invite students to play.
    • Go around and learn everyone’s names and go over basic rules: good listening, respect others and have fun.
    • Play the day’s chosen games, briefly describing the game and showing how to play. Switch to a different game while enthusiasm level is still high so kids are left with a positive experience and wanting more.
    • Finish the games by having every student giving at least one other person and one of the parents a high five.
  5. Hold a parent orientation at your school to recruit volunteers, go over the format and play a few games.
  6. Post a sign-up sheet for volunteers. We 2-3 volunteers come out once a week. As the year went on, I tried to pair new volunteers with ones who had already done it a time or two.

Guest blogger Meloide Isgrois is a part-time Urgent Care physician, full-time Mom to daughter, Lila, and a great believer that one individual can make a difference.

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